EMA: Do not microwave homemade masks after several nearly catch fire


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Health officials are advising people to wear home-made masks, but cleaning them is a concern. It’s been suggested to microwave them in a plastic bag for two to three minutes, but that’s turning out to be very dangerous for some people.

Officials advised people to check their masks for metal before microwaving, but for several masks that have nearly caught fire, metal wasn’t the problem.

“There are few of the people who are making them who have put some metal in the nose piece, but the ones that I gave to the neighbor, who microwaved and burnt them, did not have any metal at all, they were simply fabric that’s sown with elastic,” Bonnie Duckworth, a Bellevue resident told News 2.

The masks burnt in the microwave in less than a minute inside a plastic bag.

“I asked her why she had done that and she said because that’s what had been recommended,” Duckworth explained.

That advice given by many, including in Metro-Nashville’s COVID-19 Task Force briefing Friday advised microwaving two to three minutes inside a plastic bag.

“All they were doing was setting them on fire,” said Emergency Management Director Heather Site in Greene County, “We had also heard of people putting them in plastic bags, things like that, so of course that was just causing another hazard.”

Across the country, one after another, these cloth masks are burning.

“We’re using tightly woven 100-percent cotton material, but then the masks, they’re printed, and we do not know about the ink on them,” Duckworth explained, “Also we’re using elastic thread to sow the mask, so we’re doing everything we can do to follow all of the specifications that were followed by Vanderbilt.”

Site says some materials are safe to microwave but for whatever reason, these masks are not holding up.

Instead, Site suggests, “Wash them in warm water, hand wash them will probably be best, with antibacterial soap and a small amount of bleach, that’ll disinfect the mask of germs.”

The CDC also recommends putting it in the washing machine, Site adds with a high-grade detergent.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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